It’s the 4th of July again. Many had hoped that our country would be free from the Corona virus by now, but it wasn’t to be. We are still encouraged to wear face masks and practice social distancing…but still we are free to decide for ourselves where we go and what we do. Most of all we are still free to worship…even if the church buildings are closed…and to serve God and others as we struggle through the second half of 2020.
For the most part our Constitution has held us accountable as the courts make decisions based on it’s guidelines…though some gray areas are often debated. At this time maybe we need to stop the madness and look around us. There is terror in the streets for some, but for the majority of us life is peaceful. Even if we are spending most of our time at home…let’s say that again…we are at HOME! What better place to be for most of us? I know some consider work as their time away where things are clean and orderly as opposed to home where maybe things are not always peaceful and the problems can’t be turned over to the next shift for solving. At home, we are the ones responsible…the ones that set the mood and keep things running smoothly…or not.
Personally, home has always been my favorite place to be. I’m retired now and spend most of my time here anyway, so staying inside and staying busy has not been a problem for me at all…but this post is about our country and celebrating freedom. With so much division and unrest, statues being torn down and racial tensions being stirred up over and over, it sometimes feels like we have little to celebrate, but still we do.
Let’s think about Jesus’ disciples and how they felt following his death. Most of them retreated to the upper room where they last shared a meal with their beloved Messiah. Were they perhaps remembering all the things Jesus had said to them and trying to make sense of what had just happened? Was the one they’d trusted now gone forever? Surely they feared for their own lives as they waited to see what happened next. Then Mary showed up with news that Jesus was alive and coming soon to visit with them…Their hearts surely leapt at first…but did they dare believe it?
The world as they knew it, had changed. Their leader was no longer among them. Jesus had told the Jews in John 7:33 “Yet a little while I am with you, and then I go unto the one that sent me. Ye shall seek me, but cannot find me, and where I am, there ye cannot come.” But he had told the disciples, “I go and prepare a place for you, and if I prepare a place surely I will return and take you with me.” They no doubt wished they’d paid more attention when Jesus was teaching. Surely he would not forsake them now.
Many have these same doubts today as our way of life has changed…but Jesus did not forsake them. He appeared to them several times before descending into heaven…and just as He’d promised He sent the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of man and to finish the work He had begun in them. His death was not the end, but the beginning of a new life for all who believe.
Some may laugh and say today: “So where is God now, in the midst of Covid-19? Why did He allow this to happen to you, His people?” Like the disciples, we all have many questions, but unlike them, we know the answer…He is right where He has always been since the day of descension…living in the hearts of those who love Him and making us a light to shine in the hearts of mankind. We all have seen the power of His hand and felt the tenderness of His love. We know He is a God of His word and we all have a testimony to share. As Jesus realized at the age of twelve, we too must be about our Father’s business.
America is our home sweet home and we must pray for those who are working so hard to tear it apart. We must come together as people…not white Americans or black, red, brown or yellow Americans, but simply Americans…who worship the same God. Just as the people from all lands heard the disciples preach the truth of Jesus in their own language on the day the Holy Ghost was given, I believe we all see Him the same way…in our own color. Wouldn’t we love Him just the same if He were green or purple? Just as with man, color doesn’t matter, it’s what is in a person’s heart that counts. We are one in the spirit and all a part of the family of God.
My prayer for America and Christians all over the world is for this pandemic to end and when it does, may we all emerge from our places of isolation with renewed spirits and a strong determination that EVERY life matters to Jesus and therefore should matter to us. Let us not be bashful or ashamed if while shut away we faced some fears and found some answers. Let’s tell the world that we serve a God who cares and share the love of Jesus in the streets as well as in our church buildings. America is beautiful and will always be home sweet home…as long as we allow Him to be our guide and always look to Him for help, trusting He’ll never leave or forsake us. God bless you all, God bless America and Happy Fourth of July!